Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Josh Suchon made his first appearance as the UCSB women’s basketball team’s new announcer in the team’s season opening exhibition game last night.

Suchon, who conducts pre- and post-game interviews with the Dodgers, will replace longtime commentator Steve Wendt, a UCSB alumnus and the host of Talk’n Gauchos, the Athletic Dept.’s weekly radio show. The team starts this season as a 13-time Big West champion and features three all-conference honorees — Mekia Valentine, Emilie Johnson and Grovinya “Sweets” Underwood — under the lead of 2008-2009 Big West Coach of the Year Lindsay Gottlieb. Games will be broadcast live on “News Talk A.M. 990.”

Josh Suchon

Suchon co-hosted “DodgerTalk” for three years and wrote for the Oakland Tribune for 10 years, seven of which were spent traveling as a baseball beat reporter for teams such as the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants.

Additionally, he has covered five playoff games, the 2002 World Series and the 2001 all-star game. Suchon has also announced San Diego State football, basketball and baseball games.

Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb said the team was aware that a change was afoot, but not informed who the announcer would be.

“Towards the end of the summer administration told us that we were getting a new radio person and that the guy they had in mind worked for the LA Dodgers,” Gottlieb said. “I was pleased to hear this news although they said it was not finalized yet.”

Mark Lloyd, a fourth-year German major, said Josh Suchon’s reputation will draw crowds to women’s basketball games.

“I love watching the women’s basketball team,” Lloyd said. “I’m also a huge Dodgers fan and I love the idea of taking a broadcaster who is associated with a completely different sport and using his followers to bring some recognition to the women’s team this season. I know that I definitely would recognize his voice and if I was flipping through channels on the radio and heard it, I would stay tuned in and listen to the action going on.”

Mekia Valentine, a fourth-year chemistry major and returning player for the women’s basketball team, said she and her teammates are thrilled about the new addition to the team.

“His past experience in radio with ‘DodgerTalk’ makes us even more excited to have someone with his resume broadcasting for our games,” Valentine said. “Our team is really accepting to change and this is a new year so adding new people who support us and bring a positive light to our team is always great.”